A diamond of similar quality to Argyle Phoenix sold in London recently for $1.6 million per carat. Phoenix is 1.56 carats.
Security was so tight, and the fear of a heist was so strong, guests were locked in to Solid Gold Diamond's Perth launch as a collection of the world's rarest diamonds, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, was unveiled on Wednesday night.
The main exhibition at the Hay Street Mall launch was so top secret guests not only had to be pre-approved before the event, but didn't even know what they were going to see when they got there.
Our polishers have been working with us for over twenty years and say they've never seen a tender like this
And anyone who arrived late was not allowed in.
Several of the 64 pink diamonds at the once-off public display. Photo: Matthew Tompsett
"We've probably put a dampener on all the fun and publicity," said Argyle Pink Diamonds manager Josephine Johnson, who said she had fears of a heist "only all the time".
Seen only before by exclusive business clients in New York, Tokyo and Sydney, Argyle's tender collection of 64 pink and red diamonds were shown to business and celebrity guests for the first time at the opening of new $3 million Solid Gold Diamonds CBD showroom.
"They're special because they're so rare," said Solid Gold Diamonds founder and chairman Peter Greene.
"There's no more precious commodity in the world and there's no product in the world that has more concentrated value in its size."
The showing was a celebration of Solid Gold Diamond's 30th birthday - something Argyle is unlikely to repeat.
"I could count on one hand how many times we’ve shown the diamonds to the general public," Ms Johnson said.
"Largely that's because of security concerns but this is a very special night tonight because it’s our home town and we have a special relationship with Peter that spans over many years."
The centrepiece of the collection was a 1.56 carat red diamond named "Phoenix", potentially worth $2.5 million.
While staff were reluctant to name a dollar value of the collection, a diamond comparable to Phoenix was recently auctioned at Christie's London auction house for $1.6 million per carat.
Mr Greene said pink diamonds sold for 25 times their regular counterparts – a one carat diamond would sell for around $20,000, while a "middle colour" pink would sell for half a million dollars.
"Yes there are lots of other colours you can use but there's nothing like pinks," he said.
"We sell an emotional product and pinks are an emotional stone."
Mr Greene said he had wanted to keep the one-night-only collection for longer but couldn't because "security's a bit tight".
The Argyle Diamond Mine in the Kimberley is two kilometres-long and produces more than 90 per cent of the world's pink diamonds, but they account for just 0.1 per cent of the mine's output and are literally "just handfuls" each year.
Ms Johnson said these diamonds were a freak collection.
"Our polishers have been working with us for over twenty years and say they've never seen a tender like this," she said.
"It's a fabulous fluke of nature this tender collection.
"No one really knows how many red diamonds there are in the world... 30, maybe 50 ever in the history of man.
"We've had nine fancy red diamonds in the history of the Argyle mine and three are [in this tender]."
The collection will next travel to Hong Kong – another high-security operation – for viewings before being sold via a secretive closed auction in October.
"When we go on the road there's months and months of planning," Ms Johnson said.
"It costs more for the diamonds to travel than it does for the rest of the team so that might give you an idea of the security."
A 2008 Argyle pink diamond named "Aphrodite" ended up on the finger of a New York woman as a million-dollar gift of love.
Ms Johnson said while some diamonds would end up in the hands of companies likes of Tiffanys and Harry Winston for jewellery, others would not see the light of day again for a long time.
"Some of these diamonds never end up in jewellery, they end up in a vault as a store of future wealth," she said.
"The tender diamonds have outperformed the stock market, and are seen as stores of wealth, like art.
"It really is like buying a Picasso - you're never going to see it again."